Friday, December 18, 2009
Yesterday I had to call the priest at my church to ask him about something and the first thing he asked me was, "Are the braces off your teeth yet?" Those are my braces pictured above.
I said no, Padre, but they were almost off, they are coming off Dec. 30!
He said: "We have to have a party! This is a community event!"
That is how big-mouthed I have been about my braces!
But the priest at my church has been actually inconvenienced by my braces because he has to give me Communion and it has not been easy with those rubber bands. At first when I got the bands and realized I could not open my mouth, I thought maybe I should do the Communion-in-the-hand thing. That is what most Catholics do.
But going to the Latin Mass I have gotten used to the old-fashioned way of doing things, and now Communion in the hand just does not feel right to me any more. Even when I wind up at an English language weekday Mass and we are just standing up there instead of kneeling, I cannot put out my hands the way I used to. It just feels funny.
Here is something weird: At English language Masses I remember most of the responses all right but what I forget is when to sit and when to kneel and when to stand. I have to watch other people.
It is like being a visitor from the 1950s!
Excuse me, why are you saying Mass in English, why is the priest facing the people, why do the cars look so funny, and could you tell me if Leonard Pennario is coming to the Philharmonic this season?
How did I get onto this? Oh, right. The braces on my teeth.
What happened the other day, the 16th this was, was they took off the rubber bands and then they took off these big metal rings that were around my back teeth since they put the braces on me a year and a half ago.
Then they fitted me for my retainer. That is a retainer I will need at night. I wish it were retainer, as in servant. I would like a retainer at night like the one pictured at left to bring me wine and draw my bath.
To fit me for this retainer they had to plunge first my top teeth and then my bottom teeth into this plaster-y stuff, kind of like ABC gum. Remember that phrase from grade school? That was super-yuchy. I hate that feeling, this big bit in your mouth all filled up with this gooey stuff. Gag me! But I got through it.
They had to do the bottom teeth twice, alors.
Then they sent me out in the hall to the sink to clean up. Zut alors! I had all this white plaster smudged all over my face! I took a paper towel and cleaned myself up. Then I picked out a plastic toothbrush to clean the gook off my teeth.
Here is where I realized that inside I am 8 years old. They had this tub of plastic-wrapped toothbrushes and the toothbrushes were all these neat colors, iridescent blue and chartreuse green and orange and yellow and hot pink. I stood there staring at the toothbrushes while minutes passed. I picked up one and then another and looked at them. I could not make up my mind!
I am what, 45? And this is a big deal for me, picking out a pretty toothbrush.
Finally I selected an orange toothbrush and brushed my teeth. Then they put my wires back in my mouth. So now I have my braces back although they no longer extend to my back teeth. Unfortunately now they are scraping against my mouth but so what, I can stand anything for two weeks.
The Padre says that Dec. 30 is a perfect day for the braces to come off. He says there is a custom in Rome that for the New Year, everyone throws out everything they no longer need or want. It is out with the old, in with the new! He gave that phrase to me in the original Italian and it is very pretty.
So my braces are going to be thrown out.
I will no longer need them!